SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Supporting documents pertaining to transcripts, arbitration filings and expert reports will not be sealed in a breach of contract dispute between an insurer and reinsurer over asbestos coverage, a New York federal judge ruled April 26 (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, Munich Reinsurance America Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-cv-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
MINNEAPOLIS - The judge overseeing the National Hockey League (NHL) concussion multidistrict litigation on April 26 said the league will not be able to get most of the documents from the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center (BU CTE Center) because of the heavy burden it would create on the center to gather all of the documents requested (In re: National Hockey League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 24 said it will not review the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that personal injury, wrongful death and economic loss claims over a defective ignition switch can be filed against General Motors LLC because they fall within the "free and clear" provision of the bankruptcy sale between General Motors Corp. and General Motors LLC (General Motors LLC v. Celestine Elliot, et al., No. 16-764, U.S. Sup.).
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington Supreme Court on April 27 unanimously held that nurse practitioners may determine the cause of an injury in medical malpractice suits and reversed summary judgment in a medical malpractice suit that was dismissed on summary judgment after the trial court said a nurse practitioner was not qualified to determine how a man developed pressure ulcers (Rudy Frausto v. Yakima HMA LLC, No. 93312-0, Wash. Sup., 2017 Wash. LEXIS 442).
SAN FRANCISCO - An expert's knowledge regarding U.S. Navy practices and procedures qualifies him to testify that the asbestos-containing insulation to which a man was exposed was likely original to the boilers in question, and he need not have firsthand knowledge, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held April 26 (Geraldine Hilt, et al. v. Foster Wheeler LLC, FKA Foster Wheeler Corp., No. 15-17301, 9th Cir.).
LOS ANGELES - Parties in the $454 million MicroCool surgical gown California class action on April 26 told the court that as of that date, they calculate that defendant Kimberly-Clark Corp. owes $1.04 million in prejudgment interest and spinoff Halyard Health Inc. owes $42,836 (Bahamas Surgery Center, LLC, et al. v. Kimberly-Clark Corporation, et al., No. 14-8390, C.D. Calif.).
BOSTON - A majority of the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 26 that the widow of a man killed after falling bricks knocked him off a ladder failed to present a plausible argument that an underlying settlement agreement in a wrongful death lawsuit triggered an excess insurer's duty to defend (Lucia Salvati, et al. v. The American Insurance Co., No. 16-1403, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7366).
NEWARK, N.J. - The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division created a "bright-line" rule April 27 that forbids expert witnesses from presenting an opinion in a civil personal injury case heard by a jury on the concepts of symptom magnification and malingering in an attempt to impeach a party's credibility (Alexandra Rodriguez v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. A-4137-14T3, N.J. Super. App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. LEXIS 56).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A company defending an asbestos action may conduct destructive fiber burden analysis testing of pathology materials, a federal judge in Louisiana held April 26 (William D. Coleman v. Anco Insulations Inc., et al., No. 15-821, M.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62987).
BALTIMORE - A man's asbestos-related exposures occurring during work covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) provide his employer with immunity from third-party claims, a federal judge in Maryland held April 25 in granting a railroad summary judgment (Charles Lemuel Arbogast Jr., et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 14-4049, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62255).
NEW ORLEANS - Removing a case alleging negligence arising from a shipbuilder's alleged discretionary use of asbestos requires more than a simple showing that the U.S. Navy mandated use of the mineral since the claims stem not from its presence, but from its misuse, a federal judge in Louisiana said April 25 (Stephen R. Legendre, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 17-02162, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62364).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of Oklahoma residents on April 25 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court arguing that a district court's "way forward" of joining all claims against a zinc smelter related to groundwater contamination into a single trial "is the most elegant and thoughtful way to conduct an efficient and just trial" (Helen Briggs, et al. v. Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc., No. 13-1157, W.D. Okla.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Declining to strike an affidavit from a senior vice president of a reinsurer because it is inappropriate to address the motion at the summary judgment stage, a Connecticut federal judge said April 25 that she would address the arguments in her ruling on the motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract dispute between a reinsurer and insurer (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co., f/k/a The Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. v. Century Indemnity Co. as successor to Insurance Company of North America, No. 16-cv-170, D. Conn.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on April 25 entered judgment denying a religious order insured's motion to remand a coverage dispute over sexual abuse claims against a priest and dismissing the lawsuit without prejudice under the doctrine of collateral estoppel (The Order of St. Benedict v. St. Paul Mercury Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-781, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63175).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 26 granted a motion to preliminarily approve settlement of a class action that accused Facebook Inc. of privacy violations related to the social network's scanning of users' private messages (PMs) for advertisement purposes (Matthew Campbell, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:13-cv-05996, N.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO - A Chicago federal judge on April 25 awarded a disability claimant past due and future long-term disability (LTD) benefits after determining that the administrative record does not support a finding that the claimant is qualified to work in a position identified in a vocational analysis completed by the disability insurer (Ramona Contreras v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 16-3495, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62951).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on April 25 certified a class of more than 3,200 people who received an unsolicited fax advertisement for lead-testing services and denied a motion by the sender to dismiss the lawsuit (Sandusky Wellness Center, LLC, et al. v. MedTox Scientific, Inc., et al., No. 12-2066, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62838).